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MFDS discloses more medicine info for better consumer accessAgency develops apps, builds other bases to provide diverse service
  • By Lee Hye-seon
  • Published 2017.04.12 16:15
  • Updated 2017.04.12 20:39
  • comments 0

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety식품의약품안전처(MFDS) will expand the range of medicinal information it provides for the private sector, officials said Wednesday.

The ministry aims to increase consumer access to information and help their safe use of medicines, by encouraging private companies to work out various services for users based on additionally disclosed information, they said.

Last year, the ministry revealed information related to Drug Utilization Review (DUR), such as age limit to take each drug and warning for administering period on an online medical library. Also, it made public compounds, product names, company names, shapes and features of each drug, categories (general or special), and identification of each tablet.

This year, the ministry plans to provide information, such as the efficacy of medicines, and their doses and warnings, in the form that can be used directly by the private, without having to download PDF and HWP files as they used to do until last year. “In other words, we will change the form of data so that anyone can use it more efficiently, the officials said.

By just providing information in a different form, they explained, the private sector will be able to develop various related services, helping to increase consumers’ accessibility to medicinal information.

“Previously, we released information in part when there were requests,” said Kim Sang-bong김상봉, director of the Pharmaceutical Policy Division. “From now on, we will convert the data and provide them so that private businesses can make the most of the medicine approval-related information.”

For instance, Korea Pharmaceutical Information Center약학정보원 had monopolized information related to the identification of individual tablets at the commission of the ministry. The ministry made public that type of information last year, however, opening the way for other companies to create another service by making the most of such information.

Blind people’s access to medicine data will improve sharply, too. Currently, voice conversion services for visually handicapped people, which are provided by the ministry in the form of PDF or HWP file, are not compatible with voice service,

“If a healthcare startup wants to develop an application to provide medicinal information, they can utilize data provided by MFDS,” Kim said. “The government may have some good ideas, but these have limitations. On the other hand, IT companies experience difficulties developing various health-related apps because the ministry monopolizes related information. Now we are opening the way for them to make the most of such information.”

The Korea Meteorological Administration removed its official app for providing weather information. The agency eliminated the app used by about 10 million and opened the related information to private companies. It was the case of opening up of public data having led to the creation of limitless service industry.

“We made a public-private council and heard opinions. They were highly interested in opening public data. Some companies, including Naver, made MOU to provide information because they had high interest in making the most of the medicinal information,” Director Kim said. “As public agencies have the limit to develop services for customers, they are handing it over to the private sector. We expect it will serve as an occasion to increase consumers’ access to medical data.”


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